Hyperloop at SXSW 2016
Anyone who was in the Hall of Champions for the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Design Competition Weekend in January could feel that it was a special moment. Unfortunately, not everyone could be in the building that weekend, which is why Texas A&M University was asked to share the story of the event at South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin on March 15.
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Engineering Strategic Initiatives John Barton, Senior Assistant Vice Chancellor Marilyn Martell and Associate Professor of Practice Rodney Boehm presented at the event.
The presentation, “Hyperloop at Texas A&M: The Revolution has Begun,” told the story of how the event came together, how teams from across the world made their way to College Station, Texas, and how well the event was received by the students, the media and the general public.
“SXSW Interactive has become the epicenter of discussion on cutting edge technology and culture, so the invitation to talk about Design Weekend was a huge honor and recognition of the relevance of our event,” said Martell. “Interest in the event, from viewers in 98 countries watching our livestream to more than seven billion media impressions has been overwhelming and put Texas A&M in the public eye in a way that hasn’t been done before with a student competition by any university.”
The 2,000 students from across the world shared a sense of optimism and embraced the spirit of coopetition, cooperation among competitors, resulting in a sharing of engineering technologies and ideas that transcended the competitive aspect of the event. They demonstrated not only their exceptional ability as engineers, but also their ability to use social media to promote and inform. Thousands of tweets and Instagram posts showed their excitement for the event.
The presence of elected officials, including the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, lent the event a sense of credibility that the Hyperloop concept may have been lacking before.
Strong interest from media and the general public helped the event reach a global audience on traditional and social media that outpaced even optimistic expectations for the event.
To many going into the weekend, the hyperloop concept seemed impossible, but coming out, it seemed more like it was inevitable.